Australia's largest open cut zinc mine closing in 2016

Australia's largest open cut zinc mine closing in 2016Chinese firm MMG (HKG:1208) has decided to close Australia's largest, and the world’s third largest, open cut zinc mine in 2016, reports ABC.

"Australia is seen as being increasingly expensive. A high dollar and a high operating cost environment coupled with lengthy approval and permit regimes is impacting project returns," CEO Andrew Michelmore was quoted as saying yesterday in a speech to the Lowy Institute in Beijing.

Australia's largest open cut zinc mine closing in 2016Century mine, which began operations in 1999, is supposed to run out within the next 3 years. But the lengthy rehabilitation process, estimated to take 120 years, has already begun.

Located in north-west Queensland, the Century mine is expected to generate between 480,000 and 490,000 tonnes of the metallic element in the form of zinc concentrate.

The company said it is evaluating options to further utilize the existing infrastructure.

MMG is 72% owned by state-owned China Minmetals Group, which bought most of Australia's Oz Minerals assets in 2009.